Setting Up a Good Android Development Environment with Eclipse

A Good Development Environment is a must if you plan to do some Developing. Setting up a good development environment can take from a couple of hours to a day and it is cost-free, you don’t have to spend even a penny. Before we start, remember that you need to set up ADB and the Android SDK which are the most important tools, if you haven’t already set up the Android SDK (And ADB) then read our guide on doing that.


Things You Will Need… Which I Can’t Help You Set Up:

  • An Android Phone
  • A Good Data Connection
  • A PC with Decent Specs
  • Time

If you have all the above, you can move on to Part I of the Tutorial

Part I: Download an API

First, You will need to download an Android API Level. An API is basically what determines which version of Android our Application runs on and you can’t make an app without it… and that is the worst description ever. Here’s a quote from Google:

API Level is an integer value that uniquely identifies the framework API revision offered by a version of the Android platform.

The Android platform provides a framework API that applications can use to interact with the underlying Android system. The framework API consists of:

  • A core set of packages and classes
  • A set of XML elements and attributes for declaring a manifest file
  • A set of XML elements and attributes for declaring and accessing resources
  • A set of Intents
  • A set of permissions that applications can request, as well as permission enforcements included in the system

Each successive version of the Android platform can include updates to the Android application framework API that it delivers.

To get an API, go to the directory where you have your SDK set up and navigate to the Tools folder. In there, you have a file called “android” which is actually the Android SDK Manager. Double click to open.

Now, if you have followed our last tutorial then you probably have Platform-Tools installed, if not, then install it.

If you are just starting out then I suggest you start developing on the API Level 8 or 10. In this Tutorial, I will use API Level 10. To get an API, tick the appropriate one. For 10, it should look like this:

Android SDK Manager _013

We will need to install the Android Support Library too so Scroll down to Tools and select Android Support Library. Install the packages.

The installation will take some time so go grab a bite to eat.

Part II: Eclipse

Eclipse is the “development environment” part of our development environment. It is completely free and non-profit… which means they depend on your support and donations. So donate… if you can.

To get Eclipse, go to *eclipse link downloads* and download Eclipse for Java Developers. You will get a compressed file, which you have to extract to our Android Directory in our Home Folder.

Open the extracted folder and in there, is a file called eclipse. It is the Eclipse Program, open it, you will be prompted to provide a workspace, I suggest having it in “/home/*UserName*/Android/eclipse-workspace/

After Eclipse is done loading, you will be presented with a Welcome screen, you can close it. The Window will look somewhat like this:

Java - Eclipse _014

To make sure Eclipse is connected with the Android SDK, go to Window > Preferences. In the panel on the right, select Android. Make sure the SDK path specified is correct and it lists the APIs you downloaded before proceeding to Part III.

Part III: Setting Up a Virtual Device

Setting up a Virtual Device is pretty easy. On Eclipse, Go to Window > Android Virtual Device Manager.

A window will pop-up which will look like this:

I’ve already created a Virtual Device called “Andy” but I’ll lead you through the process.

Click on New. If you want a Virtual Device just like mine, then here is my configuration:

Edit Android Virtual Device (AVD) _018

Note: In Target, you can select whichever API you want.

Starting your Virtual Device

To start your Virtual Device, go to Window > Android Virtual Device Manager, select your Virtual Device and click Start. Your Android Device should look like this:

5554:Andy_019

Part IV: Other Essentials

A Good Image-Editing Software

GIMP is a Powerful Choice and it’s free. I, personally, use GIMP but I’m not a fan yet. It’s just the Multiple Windows that I don’t like, I hate the way, it clutters my desktop. GIMP offers basic and advanced image editing and retouching tools – painting, drawing and selection tools, layers and channel support, selection masks, color adjustments, paths, etc. Features can be extended through the use of plug-ins and scripts. Hundreds of plug-ins are available in the GIMP Plugin Registry.

There’s another choice…

Paint.NET… it’s got an easy-to-use interface and an array of effects Paint.net is a solid free photo editing applications for those that don’t need the power of Photoshop or Web sharing. Don’t underestimate it, this thing is pretty awesome. Photo-Graphics-Software gives it an 86, well above GIMP‘s 80!

An XML-Editing Program

Half of you already have this if you are using Ubuntu. gedit comes out-of the-box so you don’t have to worry about that. But another option is Geany. Both gedit and Geany are available in the Ubuntu Software Centre.

APKTool or Any Other Tool to Decompile/Compile APKs

APKTool is the best. Head over to apktool’s XDA-Developers thread to get it. There are other more easy-to-use and user-friendly programs like APK Manager but all of them are built on APKTool.

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